What are the future possibilities for managing the oceans as a global commons?
- Causes and consequences of increasing demand for the abiotic resources of oceans, including minerals, oil and gas.
- Trends in biotic resources use (fish and mammals) and the viability of alternatives to overfishing, including aquaculture, conservation areas and quotas.
- Strengths and weaknesses of intiatives to manage ocean pollution, including local and global strategies for radioactive materials, oil and plastic waste.
- The strategic value of oceans and possible sources for international conflict or insecurity, including the contested ownership and control of islands, canals and transit choke points.
Wednesday 01 November 2023
What are the causes and consequences of increasing demand abiotic resources of oceans?
- To examine the causes and consequences of increasing demand for the abiotic resources of oceans, including minerals, oil and gas.
Starter: Abiotic resources in the ocean.
- What types of abiotic resources are found on the ocean seabed?
- How important are they?
- What are the potential consequences of their exploitation?
Task 1. The Contested Arctic Ocean
Study the map of the Arctic and discuss the reasons why the Arctic appears to be such a contested ocean.
Task 2. Causes and Consequences of Increased Ocean Oil and Gas Extraction.
Complete the table on this Google Doc as you watch the following videos on the causes and consequences of increased ocean oil and gas extraction in the ocean.
Task 3. Seabed Mineral Mining
Read the following information and study the diagram below. Then answer the following question:
- What are the causes and consequences of seabed mineral mining?
The Rising Demand for Seabed Minerals
Rising demand for minerals and metals, in tandem with the depletion of land-based resources, has led to a surge of interest in marine mineral resources. Although no commercial scale deep-sea mining has taken place, a range of mining operations are active in the shallow seabed. However, exploration contracts for deep-sea resources have been awarded to companies from countries including China, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France and Japan for three different mineral resources: seafloor massive sulfides (SMS), ferromanganese crusts and polymetallic nodules. Mining the seabed carries significant environmental concerns, some of which have been highlighted over the past 5 years in relation to applications for mining in continental shelf regions (for example, ironsands and phosphorite mining in New Zealand waters; New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority, 2016). Given the nature, scale and location of proposed seabed mining activities, serious and widespread negative impacts on biodiversity are inevitable and likely to be irreversible (Van Dover et al., 2017). Other impacts include conflict with other users of the sea, such as the fishing industry and pharmaceutical firms looking to exploit marine genetic resources (Armstrong et al., 2012).
Thursday 02 November 2023
What are the trends in biotic resources use (fish and mammals) and the viability of alternatives to overfishing, including aquaculture, conservation areas and quotas?
- To examine the trends in biotic resources use.
- To assess the viability of alternatives to overfishing.
Starter: Study the following photograph and discuss the impacts of bottom trawling on ocean biotic resources.
Task 1. Watch the following Greenpeace video on the issues in the Arctic.
- What environmental impacts are there for Ocean biotic resources.
- What does Greenpeace lobby for on this issue?
Task 2. Global and European Fisheries Map – Processes and Possibilities
Watch the following WWF video and describe the pattern of growth in fishing waters over time.
Vist this FAO website.
- Take a screenshot of each of the five graphs shown on the wesbite and describe the patterns and trends.
- To what extent is aquaculture likely to replace capture production to meet the demand in fish?
- What appears to be the long term trend in regard to the sustainability of fishing?
Task 3. The Role of Conservation and Community – Processes, Places and Possibilities
- Watch the following video and make notes on the problems of overfishing and the importance of nearshore fishing communities and Turf and Reserve Management.
Task 4. The Challenges and Opportunities of Aquaculture – Processes and Possibilities.
- Watch the two videos that develop the challenges of aquaculture farming as well as the technology solutions to them.
Task 5. The EU and the Common Fisheries Policy – Processes, Places and Possibilities
- Read the infographic below and outline the four different aspects of the EU Common Fisheries Policy.
Monday 06 November 2023
Evaluating the Management of Ocean Pollution
- To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of initiatives to manage ocean pollution, including local and global strategies for radioactive materials, oil and plastic waste.
Starter: Where does plastic go?
Study this interactive map and investigate where plastic goes when it is dumped into the ocean.
Watch the following video, which explains the characteristics and challenges of the great ocean garbage patches and answer the following questions in a google doc.
- How much plastic is in the ocean?
- Where does most of the plastic originate from?
- How many patches are there?
- How permanent are the patches?
- What are the patches mainly made of?
- How does plastic enter the food chain?
- What is the challenge in resolving the problem?
- What solution does he suggest?
- Why is the plastic a global problem?
Investigate the type of ocean pollution that you have been assigned (see below) and then evaluate the strategies that are being used to manage them. You should then present an evaluation of local and global initiatives to manage it to the rest of the class. This can be donw in whatever format you choose.
Option 1. Plastic Pollution – Hannah
Part 1. Transboundary Plastic Pollution
Study the maps below and answer the following questions:
- Study Map 1 and describe the main sources of plastic waste.
- Study Map 2 and explain why East and South East Asia are important sources of plastic waste.
- Study Map 3 and describe the pattern of plastic waste sources.
- What does graphic 4 suggest about the problem of the global ocean garbage patches?
- Referring to Map 5 describe the concentration of microplastic waste at the globla scale.
- With reference to graphic 6 and 7 describe the impact of plastic waste marine life.
- Describe the ways some countries are attempting to combat plastic waste.
Part 2. Launch of Ocean Clean up Device
Watch the following animation explaining the Ocean Clean Up device launched in September 2018. Annotate this sketch of the diagram to explain its features and how it operates.
Explore Ocean Cleanup website and add more notes to your diagram.
Vist the following websites and note down some of the problems with the Ocean Clean up Device and the counter arguments. Record your points in the table on Google Doc above.
- Science Mag – Critics say plan for drifting ocean trash collectors is unmoored
- Southern Fried Science – The expert review
- Oceancleanup responds to the critics
- Ocean Clean up returned to Port due to damage
- The Ocean clean up mass balance research
Part 3. Local Level Solutions – Seabins
Watch the following video and note down the advantages and disadvantages
Part 4. Local, National and International Regulation of Plastic Waste – Processes and Possibilities
Read the following webpage from the National Geographic
- Note down the ways regulation at a range of scales is being introduced to reduce plastic waste
- To what extent are these regulations successful?
Option 2. Radio Active Materials – Julia
Part 1. Nuclear Waste
Study the following map which shows nuclear waste dumping sites. Describe the global pattern shown on the map.
Study the following graph which shows total nuclear waste dumping by country and ocean between 1946 and 1993. Describe the trends shown in the graph.
Part 2. The Role of Greenpeace
Watch the following video that documents the filming of nuclear waste disposal. Summarise the main points.
Read the following summary of Greenpeace’s role in the banning of dumping nuclear waste in oceans
Read the following article based on the climate threats to nuclear power stations
Read the following article on Japan’s Nuclear power situation six year after the Fukushima disaster
Summarise the main points of the above articles.
Option 3. Oil Exploration – David
Part 1. The Challenges of Oil Exploration and Drilling in the Arctic
Watch the following videos and answer the questions on this worksheet.
Part 2. Cost Effective Approaches
Watch the following video based on the use of Polymers as a cost effective way of removing oil from the sea. Describe briefly how it works.
Part 3. Oil Spill Trajectory Models in Canada
Watch the following video showing a trajectory model of a worst case scenario in Vancouver, Canada
How can trajectory models aid in the recovery of managing major oil spills?
Watch the following video and make notes on the the role of NOAA in oil spill trajectories
- How are trajectory model formed?
- What are the use of trajectory models in the mitigation and management of spills?
Review Task (For all)
After listening to/reading each other’s presentations, make a summary revision sheet covering the strength and weakness of a range of ocean management solutions at range of scales, including local, national and global.
Wednesday 15 November 2023
What is the strategic value of oceans and how does it bring about international conflict and insecurity?
To examine the strategic value of oceans and sources of international conflict/insecurity, including the contested ownership and control of island, canals and transit choke points.
Case Study: The South China Sea
The East and South China Seas are the scene of escalating territorial disputes between China and its neighbors, including Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The tensions, shaped by China’s growing assertiveness, have fueled concerns over armed conflict and raised questions about Washington’s security commitments in its strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.
Part 1. Background Information
Watch the following Vox video explaining tensions in the South and East China Sea and answer the following questions:
- What has China done in the South China Sea?
- What has China done with these new islands?
- Why is the South China Sea important?
– Natural Gas
- What percentage of trade flows through the South China Sea?
- How many countries have a claim?
- What is the EEZ?
- How are seas outside the EEZ governed?
- What is the 9-dash line?
- Why are the Spratly Islands so important?
- How do nations attempt to claim the Spratley Islands?
- How has China exploited its power in the region?
- What is the role of the US in the region?
- What is the cabbage strategy?
- How did China take control of the Philippine EEZ izland Ayungin Shoal?
- How is island construction linked to a militarization of the region?
- What was the reaction of China to the ruling of the International Court of the Hague?
- What position did the US take?
- What is the long term goal of the US in the South China sea?
- How are other nations defending their sovereignty in the region?
Part 2. Crisis Response Debate
In an unfolding international crisis, reports have surfaced that a passenger ship flying a Philippines flag was just sunk by Chinese naval forces in the Spratlys. The number of deaths is unconfirmed, but the Philippines released a statement that there will be substantial consequences for China, while saying nothing more as to what that might entail. The president has called a group of political, economic, and military experts together to advise on what the U.S. response should be.
You will be divided into three advisory groups to craft a political, economic, or military response. Each person should come in with at least one proposal, supported by at least three pieces of evidence from credible sources (news, think tanks, academics, etc.) to debate in front of the other advisers and the president (me).
- Each of you will be responsible for either a political, economic, or military response. You have the rest of this class and homework to prepare your policy proposals.
- Next lesson you will have 10 minutes to present your proposal. I might interrup you, acting as the president, and the other advisers are allowed to ask questions as well.
- After hearing all of the presentations, you will be allowed 5 minutes to prepare and present a 3 minute closing response that argues for why your proposed response is the best to pursue.
- You will then write an essay (as part of a structured exam question) that justifies which policy option should be selected and why. You may also consider whether a combination of policy options would be best to deal with the crisis.